When searching for a good insurance company, one of the most important things you need to do is to find an insurance agent you can trust. This is not an easy process. In the past, the insurance world has not had the best reputation for ethics and integrity. Though most agents tried to do their jobs the best they could, they were so often overwhelmed and pressured by their supervisors to make new sales, that they sometimes let ethics slide.
Therefore, the industry got a bad reputation for doing whatever it took for the sale, even at the cost of honesty. In recent years, however, the ethics board and insurance commission in every state has tried to increase their stance on ethics and integrity by teaching the “do right clause” to new agents upon entering the field.
Still, when you are looking for an agent you can trust, there are some things to look for which might help at least increase the chances that you will get an agent who is trustworthy and reliable.
- Openness and Honesty
- Past Experiences
- Check their Record with the State Agencies
One of the things you can base this on is the degree of openness the person seems to have toward any questions you have. A good and honest agent will be happy to answer any questions you have for them, without reservations. They will encourage questions to make sure you understand the particulars of the policy they are asking about, and they will seem friendly and courteous in responding. If an agent doesn’t know the answer to a question, they should be honest about this too, and call someone over them in order to get a solid answer to your question.
Not only is it good to know the experience the agent has had, but also to know from other sources what experience others have had with that agent. If you can talk to anyone at all whom you know that has dealt with them in the past, you can ask their opinion of the agent too.
Don’t be afraid to check an agent out if you have any doubts. You can go to the Department of Insurance in your state, and put in the person’s name, agent number, or other information, and it will tell you if there have been any complaints or charges brought against a person recently or in the past. This is important to know, even if the charges were dropped. If it was a civil matter involving claims, ask the agent to tell you their side of the story. They may not like being asked, but if they are wanting to do the right thing, they will level with you. If they still have an active license, it means that there was no evidence of wrongdoing that was sufficient to bar them from practicing.
Finally, to find an agent you can trust, check newspaper ads. Analyze the approach the ad takes. Does it seem honest? If the ad is done in an honest manner, this reflects favorably on the business. Get to know the agent as well as possible before doing business with them. If they give you all the required paperwork, in writing, and are willing to continue to be there for you when needed, you have probably found an honest agent.
Sara Wells is a travel writer who blogs on behalf of car rental insurance brand Protectyourbubble.com